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VOL 2, ISSUE 2

SPRING 2017

Source of

Light

Virginia Baptists continue service at the Source of Light Center in Haiti Because of You Check out the amazing efforts of our BGAV family... by the numbers! 8

Soak Up Summer Missions!

Sunday School for More than Sundays

Make plans now with one of our summer missions opportunities

Use Sunday School to create missionaries for EVERY day

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PALM SUNDAY: A WAY OF LOOKING AT LIFE by John Upton

I have just discovered an aspect of Jesus’ life that I have seemed to miss until recently. When I thought about Palm Sunday and Jesus borrowing—more like commandeering—a colt to ride on through Jerusalem, it suddenly occurred to me just how often Jesus actually borrowed things. Think about it: Jesus borrowed the water he turned into wine and the jars along with it. He borrowed a boat to teach from. He borrowed houses in which to teach and heal, and some of those houses even had their roofs ripped open. He borrowed the lunch of a young boy to feed 5,000 people. He borrowed all kinds of family members to follow him. He even borrowed Matthew from the IRS. On the last night of his life, he borrowed an upper room to share a meal. That same night, he borrowed a garden for prayer. He was born in a borrowed barn, died on a borrowed cross, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. That is quite a list. We always speak of Jesus as a giver, which of course he was. No one gave more than he, and he gave because of his love for us. So, what was he trying to teach us in the borrowing? I suppose he was trying to remind us we are all borrowers in this life. Very little actually belongs to us. I even live with the legalized fiction that I own my own home, though my bank might take issue with that. I live a life that is loaned to me for a brief time, and one day I will give it back. Even now, it is in God’s hands.

JOHN UPTON is the Executive Director of the BGAV.

We didn’t buy this life or even earn it. All we can do is hold it lightly for a while and try to do something with it that is worthy and glad and thankful. I guess Jesus is reminding all of us that our living is pure grace; it’s all a gift. We didn’t buy this life or even earn it. All we can do is hold it lightly for a while and try to do something with it that is worthy and glad and thankful. Unfortunately, most days we don’t live that way at all. We have chosen, instead, to live lives that are anxious, fisted, and ungenerous. We live among a people now who are living anxious, fisted, and entitled lives. We need “good news.” We need another way. It is actually comforting to be reminded that we ride through life on borrowed colts. Don’t try to pay for it; don’t try to beat it to death. Just accept it and ride, knowing it isn’t yours. Be thankful and be free. Maybe with that spirit we can lend some grace to others. Maybe we can learn to be more generous with others. So if someone asks you for your coat, you can give it to them. Give them your cloak as well. Lend, expecting nothing in return, even with your enemies. Jesus said that our reward will be great. If we do this, he said we will be called sons and daughters of the Most High. Wear your life like a bargain garment that fits you perfectly, and when your Messiah comes riding by on his borrowed colt, lay down your garment and sing your praises, as if you are someone who is glad and free.


4 // BGAV News & Notes 8 // Because of You 10 // Church Planting Update 11 // Kingdom Pioneer Spotlight 12 // Source of Light 16 // Ghana Mission Trip Updates 17 // Summer Missions Opportunities 18 // Meet the New Class of Leaders

Source of

Light // pg 12

20 // Whom Do I Call for...? 22 // Making Missionaries and Disciples in Sunday School and Small Groups 23 // One Snowy Sunday 24 // The Light in the Grove 26 // Life & Death Questions 27 // Latest Ministry Jobs

BGAV Advancing the Kingdom Together

A publication of the Baptist General Association of Virginia Volume 2, Issue 2 Spring 2017 BGAV Express is published quarterly by the Baptist General Association of Virginia, 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Henrico, VA 23294.

Send subscription requests and address changes to: Linda Peay linda.peay@bgav.org 800.255.2428, ext. 1204 BGAV Express Baptist General Association of Virginia 2828 Emerywood Parkway Henrico, VA 23294 toll-free 800.255.2428 Or visit BGAV.org/Express.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: John V. Upton, Jr. CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER & BGAV EXPRESS EDITOR: Nathan White SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Meghan Wilson ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Linda Peay ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jennifer Law


BGAV Reports Year-end 2017 Receipts

BGAV churches finished last year by giving nearly $16 million towards missions, including $9,974,663 to the Cooperative Missions budget and $4,694,525 towards special offerings, which include: • • • • •

Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions.........$711,851 Lottie Moon Offering......................................... $2,366,919 Annie Armstrong Offering................................. $1,116,592 CBF Global Missions Offering.............................$274,120 World Hunger Offering..........................................$225,043

“Virginia Baptists continually demonstrate their faithfulness and commitment to our shared mission of advancing the Kingdom together, and for that I am deeply grateful,” said BGAV Treasurer David Washburn.

Executive Board member Herbert Ponder contributes to the meeting discussion.

The 2017 Cooperative Missions budget is $10 million and the goal for the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions is $1,167,500. You may learn more at BGAV.org/Budget. Monthly reports from the treasurer are available at BGAV.org/TreasurerReport.

board development. The finance subcommittee brought a motion to pay off an outstanding note of approximately $631,000. The motion passed unanimously. “This is tremendous news,” Executive Director John Upton exclaimed after the vote. “I am proud of Virginia Baptists for being able to accomplish this goal of being debt-free.”

BGAV Executive Board Kicks off 2017 with First Meeting

BGAV President Stu Crow was asked by Chairman Carl Johnson to open the January meeting of the Executive Board with a devotion. Crow reflected on the question of what does it mean when one says that “God is with us,” saying that he believes God is with us and the BGAV. “We just need to look around us,” Crow said. “If we trust in God, we’ll have hope.”

Upton then offered his report, sharing several things he’ll need the board to help the organization with as it looks to the future. “As we look towards our 200th anniversary in 2023 and beyond, this is a critical year for Virginia Baptists,” he said. “God continues to call us to a mission bigger than ourselves, and I am excited to work together as we answer that call.”

Johnson then invited George Fletcher, Michael Cheuk, Sharon Horsley, and Michael Jordan to introduce themselves as the newest members of the Board. He reminded the Board members of their responsibilities and that they function as a policy governance board. President Crow reported that he had fulfilled his constitutional requirement by naming chairs to the nine standing committees by December 15. Along with those appointments, Crow appointed two members to the Committee on Memorial, and appointed a chair and a new member to the Committee to Administer the Minister’s Unemployment Fund.

The Mission Council will meet April 25 with the Executive Board at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center.

BGAV & Texas Baptists Announce Chaplaincy Endorsement Partnership

The Executive Board of the BGAV and the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) have approved a partnership for chaplaincy endorsement and training. Rev. Todd Combee, senior pastor of New Bethesda Baptist Church in Mechanicsville and a retired military chaplain, will serve as the BGAV representative.

During the meeting, members broke up into four subcommittees: finance, personnel, resource development, and

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NEWS + NOTES the staff of the Source of Light Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Virginia Baptists that sponsor a child living there. We also welcome Tom Stocks back to the staff as Minister in Residence for Deacon Ministry, serving as the point of contact for BGAV churches with questions about deacons. Stocks serves as pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond.

Rev. Combee shared with BGCT Executive Board members, “[We] are very excited about this partnership, allowing us to minister to chaplains in our area as well as Virginia Baptist chaplains who will be a part of this process.”

Fred Anderson Announces Retirement Fred Anderson, executive director of both the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, announced that he will retire June 30. Anderson was the Historical Society’s first full-time director in 1979. A member of River Road Church, Baptist, he has served the BGAV as clerk since 1982. More about his retirement and future plans will be in the next edition of the BGAV Express.

In addition to other requirements, chaplains must have an ecclesiastical endorsement from a faith-based group. Through this new partnership, the BGAV will be able to endorse chaplains as Virginia Baptists. The partnership also will also allow the required continuing education opportunities to be hosted in Virginia. “This partnership fulfills a dream Virginia Baptists have had for many years,” said BGAV Executive Director John Upton. “Virginia is home to many chaplains. There are military, hospital, corporate, university, and many other chaplains that are in need of endorsement to do their work. This partnership provides a direct way to support ministries that touch people at critical moments in their lives. I am very grateful to Todd Combee for being our BGAV endorser and to New Bethesda Baptist Church for encouraging him to lead this ministry. Our good friends at the BGCT have been very gracious in inviting the BGAV to join them in an exceptionally well-done ministry to chaplains. Over 900 chaplains are currently endorsed in this ministry. Already there are many who have expressed interest in receiving this endorsement. As a BGAV family, we have much to celebrate!”

Fred Anderson

The BGAV Needs Your Help!

The BGAV partners with many different institutions and agencies so that we may work to advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom together. We are dependent on church members to nominate Virginia Baptists who embrace and live out our historic Baptist identity to serve on the boards of our partners and on the Standing Committees of the BGAV. Do you know someone who would be a fantastic addition to one of these groups? Please nominate them! The process does not require a lot of time and can be done either online or through the mail. Please nominate at least one person to serve on a board or committee no later than May 1. Learn more and make a nomination at BGAV.org/Nominations.

BGAV Staff Updates

The BGAV staff welcomes Staci Calkin as the new Haiti Child Sponsorship Coordinator. She will serve as the liaison between

2016 BGAV/GuideStone Protection Benefit Payments

Staci Calkin

One of the unique features of the Church Retirement Plan through GuideStone is protection benefits that can help pastors and church staff in a time of disability or their families in the event of

Tom Stocks 5

continued...


EVENTS continued... During 2016, 25 employees of BGAV churches received disability benefits of $101,000.08.

death. The benefits are provided by the BGAV in partnership with GuideStone at no cost to churches or employees. The cost of the benefits is covered through the BGAV Cooperative Missions Budget.

Also, during 2016, six employees of BGAV churches received survivor benefits of $39,260.44.

Ordained ministers and other church employees may qualify for: • Disability benefits of up to $500 a month, and • Survivor benefits of up to $100,000.

For more BGAV news, visit BGAV.org/News

Event Calendar April 1 22 27 27–28 28–29 30

June National Sunday School Director Training, Lynchburg, VA Ministry Equipping Network: Youth Ministry 101 (webinar) Special Needs (free webinar) Empower Class 502 - Establishing a Dynamic Coaching Relationship, Henrico, VA Mission Matters - Lynchburg, Lynchburg, VA Children & Youth Evangelism Training, Meadows of Dan, VA

1 1 3 3 5-6 6 8

May 5 9 14–18 15 15–16 15–16 18 19–20 22 25

Fresh Expressions Vision Day, Richmond, VA Preparing for Retirement Seminar, Henrico, VA Collegiate Impact, Colonial Beach, VA Preparing for Retirement Seminar, Halifax, VA Forum, Henrico, VA Virginia Baptist Senior Adult “Sing and Share” Festival of Praise, Vinton, VA Preparing for Retirement Seminar, Roanoke, VA Preaching Camp XII, Williamsburg, VA Preparing for Retirement Seminar, Annandale, VA Preparing for Retirement Seminar, Chesapeake, VA

18–24 20 25–7/1

Ministry Equipping Network: Best Practices of Teaching Youth (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Children in Worship (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Developmental Ages & Stages (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Best Practices of Teaching Preschoolers and Children (webinar) Empower Class 510 - A Coach Approach to Leading and Managing, Roanoke, VA Ministry Equipping Network: Teaching Techniques/Approaches (webinar) Ministry Equipping Network: Bible Study Basics (webinar) Impact Mission Camps: Culpeper Ministry Equipping Network: Models of Family Ministry (webinar) Impact Mission Camp, Bluefield, VA

Complete list of events at BGAV.org/Events

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Take a leap of faith. CrossRoads Summer Camp

CrossRoads Camp and Conference Center Lowesville, Virginia - 434.277.8465 www.crossroadsccc.com


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CHURCH PLANTING UPDATE

Below is a report from a BGAV church plant. Please be in prayer for these church members as they work to share the gospel in their community. Kairos Community in Lancaster, CA by Noah Stepro, pastor “We are a network of Neighborhood Churches (NCs) that meet together for corporate worship Sunday nights in a Foursquare Church’s building. This past year, we planted two new NCs and helped transition a 60-year-old Baptist church into a new season of ministry with us. We relocated their small gathering (15–20) from a rented space to an independent senior living community where we now minister to and integrate our church with seniors, ages 85 and up. Through V3/BGAV, we have been able to fund these new church plants and have grown in equipping our leaders for mission and spiritual formation. We baptized nine adults in 2016 and would love to double that number. In the last week, we experienced several seekers—a gay, agnostic man; a Mormon convert; two former pastors who were burned out from exploitive church leadership practices; a Jewish/Buddhist family in the throes of trauma; and a recently relocated, single Christian woman—all engaging with our community and taking steps towards Jesus and his Kingdom. In the coming year, we want to plant three new churches and equip, license, and empower several more community pastors. We need and appreciate prayers regarding funding. We are unwavering in our support of women in leadership positions in our church, and we lost a significant portion of our 2017 budget as a result. We are trusting God will provide in this coming season.” 10

DID YOU KNOW? The BGAV is fueling a church-planting movement in Virginia and beyond. Out of hundreds of eligible and trained church planters, we have the opportunity to fund a large percentage of these church plants with your financial support. Want to help spread the gospel? We are seeking to raise $750,000 in order to (a) increase the total number of BGAV churches to 1,500 by 2020 and (b) plant a BGAV church in every state by 2025. Visit BGAV.org/Donate or give to the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions (AlmaHunt.org) to help with BGAV churchplanting efforts.


m o d g n i K ioneer? P

a s I t Wha

Webster’s Dictionary defines a pioneer as a person who helps create or develop new ideas or methods. A Kingdom Pioneer reflects the BGAV values of being:

KINGDOM PIONEeRs #I

relationally rich, gospel-centric, reasonable and gracious, has a heart for the “not-yet,” and believes in investing generously in shared mission.

Jake Maxwell

Campus pastor The Village Campus of Bon Air Baptist Church Richmond, VA “We are not doing rocket science. We are simply attempting to integrate our ministries in order to better represent the Kingdom of God.” The Village Campus of Bon Air Baptist Church and the Richmond Autism Integration Network (RAIN) have developed a partnership, which includes hosting a prom for students with autism. “Honestly, when our church and RAIN began partnering together, I was entirely uninformed about autism. As we developed a relationship, we learned about the great need for resources and services for individuals and families who live with or near the autism spectrum. The impact of RAIN is unquestioned; the need for the church in our world is evident. This process of relationshipbuilding expanded my understanding of the image of God in which we are all created. Let the love of God rain.”

#IAmAKingdomPioneer

BGAV.org/KingdomPioneers 11

BGAV AM

SINCE 1823

A K I NGDOM PION Ee R


Transforming the Neighborhood with Hope

Source of

Light

by Jennifer Law

When an earthquake struck Haiti on the morning of January 12, 2010, it devastated an entire country that had already been on the brink of falling apart. The magnitude of the disaster created problems that would take many, many years to address. Partnering with the Haiti Baptist Convention, Hungarian Baptist Aid, and the Baptist World Alliance, the BGAV strategically addressed one of the greatest needs for long-term help, and the idea for the Source of Light Center was born. In January 2012, the BGAV celebrated with the Haiti Baptist Convention and other Baptists around the world as the center opened. At that time, Dean Miller (now BGAV Mission Development Staff Coordinator, then Disaster Relief Coordinator), made this comment: “Thinking long term allows you to take the resources you have, whether they are finances, personnel, or others, and spread them out so you are not only helping people recover from the immediate disaster; you are helping them along the entire way, so you bring more complete healing.” Fast-forward five years: now in 2017, Miller’s words have proven true. By investing long-term in the people of the Delmas 19 community of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the BGAV and its partners have seen tremendous progress and growth so far. Future plans are for even more strategic, community-sustaining ministries that are primarily driven by the Haitians themselves. “The Source of Light Center started as a response to a disaster with an orphanage and school,” explains Craig Waddell, BGAV Partnership and Short-Term Volunteer Coordinator, “and has grown to include 12


mentoring classes in life skills, a special needs class, a radio station, and micro-economic projects with purified water and raising chickens to sell eggs.” Thirty-seven children, ranging in ages from 4 to 16, live at the center. As some of the older children are beginning to age out of the orphanage, there are plans to develop a new property they’ve acquired into a vocational center and transition house. “One of the big changes,” explains Waddell, “has been the establishment of a board of advisors for the center. The board consists predominantly of Haitians, but two Virginia Baptists serve on it as well. Part of the board’s task is to move the center from a relief effort to a long-term, Haitian-driven, developmental project.” The compelling vision that drives the center forward and gives the team its energy is to “transform Delmas 19 with hope, for the glory of God!” They not only want to change the lives of the children who live there; rather, they seek to be a blessing for and a living part of the community—seeking out the existing resources and collaborating with partners who are already there. Pastor Ronel Mesidor, who is the head of the center, believes strongly that living out this vision is the way to change Haiti’s future. He comments, “Haiti is not really a poor country.” The issue, according to Pastor Ronel, is not resources. “We have bad leadership—bad government. I think we have resources, but we don’t build people.” He goes on to say, “That’s why I invest in kids. When we invest in kids, we invest for the future. At Source of Light, we can prepare the next generation…to be good pastors, leaders, politicians, lawyers, and doctors for the future.”

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Members of West Lynchburg Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA, work on building a new playground during their mission trip to the Source of Light Center in Haiti.


my sons a larger worldview and an incredible heart for missions. This sponsorship has made an impact on them and on me that is much greater than anything we’ve been able to do for Mackendy and the other children.” There is a great need for more co-sponsors for the children until the center becomes self-sustaining. Sponsorships are available at multiple monthly levels: $140, $70, $35, $20, and $15. For more information and to sign up online for a sponsorship, visit SourceOfLightHaiti.org or contact Staci Calkin at haitichildsponsorship@bgav.org. Opportunity: Discipleship Following Jesus is the best foundation for building one’s life, so discipleship is at the center of the Source of Light’s investment in the children. Virginia Baptists contribute with VBS teams and backyard Bible clubs in the community.

According to Waddell, the center wants to participate in God’s call to transform the community by making an impact in five main areas: faith, health, education, economics, and partnering. “There are activities going on in each of these areas, but in order to have lasting impact, it’s important for us to choose some specific needs where we can invest ourselves and network with other partners,” he clarifies. Toward that goal, Virginia Baptists are focusing especially on the child sponsorships, discipleship, the new church plant, and the transition house/youth center.

Members of Kilmarnock Baptist Church have had an ongoing relationship with the Source of Light center. Pastor Matthew Tennant explains: “At Kilmarnock Baptist Church, we seek to reflect God’s love in our community and around the world. Through the BGAV partnership with Source of Light, we can connect with the children and share God’s love with them. Sometimes, we share this love with a song or story. Other times, we share it with a hug. We can all do something. We are taking a long view toward our relationship with Haiti and the orphanage. Getting to know the children has been transformational for our congregation. Many of the same people return to the orphanage each year. They stay in touch with the children, translators, and other friends in Haiti. The mission trips shrink the world and help us realize that we are all the same.”

How Can Individuals and Churches Participate in What’s Going On at Source of Light? Opportunity: Child Sponsorship Child sponsorship directly supports the needs of the children who are living at Source of Light. Sponsorship covers three meals a day, education, books, school uniforms, clothing, shoes, medical care, hygiene, and support of the caregivers (house moms, cooks, launderer, and life mentors). Rod Miller, Director of Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center, has sponsored a child there since 2012. He recalls, “At the BGAV Annual Meeting, pictures of the children were displayed in the exhibit hall. Every time I walked by, my eyes were drawn to a boy named Mackendy, and so our family’s sponsorship of him began. I’ve sponsored other children through other organizations over the years, but this investment has been much more rewarding because of the personal relationship our family has developed with Mackendy. My sons have sent and received letters and pictures, and we were even able to go on a sponsor-family BGAV trip to Haiti and meet him in person. Our church, West Lynchburg Baptist Church, has now taken groups there each year for the past three years, and our family has participated. We’ve also taken Christmas gifts to Mackendy and the other children. Whether we come bearing gifts or not, the smiles on the children’s faces are worth far more than our partial sponsorship of one boy. Two of Mackendy’s paintings hang inside the main entrance to our home, and we proudly display his photos on the refrigerator in our kitchen. We think about him and the other children often, and we pray for them daily. In many ways, Mackendy has become part of our family. Our relationship with him and the center has instilled in

Rachel Pierce, through her relationship with the Spence Network, took the opportunity in 2014 to go to Source of Light to help begin a music program partnering with MELODIME/ Now I Play Along Too, a group that has donated instruments and provided music instructors for the now-ongoing program. “Music knows no language boundaries,” relates Pierce. “The children at Source of Light are gifted in music, in singing, and in leading worship. I loved getting to invest in them, but even more beautiful is the opportunity that’s been created for local music instructors to teach during the school year. It’s important that we invest in the children and the local economy. I am certain there are even a few music teachers in the making among those children. I always return from Source of Light with more gratitude in my heart for getting to spend time with the children and caregivers. Bringing them the gift of music brings hope and reminds each child that they are uniquely created by God with purpose.” For more information about supporting the music program or potentially joining the summer music camp team in 2017, contact Rachel at rachel.pierce@firstbaptistashland.org. 14


The adult leaders, teachers, and staff are crucial for maintaining an atmosphere that points to Christ, so investing in discipleship training (based on Mike Breen’s “Building a Discipling Culture”) is critical for them, as well as for the older children. Soon the Spence Network will establish the first Uptick Haiti mentoring group for young leaders. Opportunity: Transition House/Youth Center “The financial reality is a challenge,” explains Waddell, “as there is not much disposable income among the general population.” Funding large-scale projects like renovating the transition house on the new property is a big hurdle. However, children cannot move in until the house is finished. As the older children move on to the transition house to receive more life-skills mentoring and vocational training, they will create more space for additional children at the orphanage. To contribute financially to Source of Light, visit SourceOfLightHaiti.org. Volunteers and teams are needed in many areas, ranging from teaching VBS to training special needs educators, working in medical needs and physical therapy, repairing facilities and painting, providing continuing education for teachers, and many others. For more specific information about opportunities, contact Craig Waddell at craig.waddell@bgav.org or 800.255.2428, ext. 7263.

The children enjoy spending time with the volunteers at their new playground!

For more information, visit SourceOfLightHaiti.org 15


BGAV Churches Travel to Ghana in Support of More Than Nets

by Nathan White

Several mission groups have traveled to Ghana so far this year, including volunteers from the Appomattox Baptist Association and Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond. While there, these short-term missionaries had opportunities to teach pastors, share the Gospel, plant new churches, and distribute life-saving mosquito nets. Thomas Reeves, a member of Providence Baptist Church, Red House, writes: “I was able to help hang mosquito nets in the sleeping quarters of the village huts in nearby Bofoyiai. With four team members and some local helpers, we were able to hang 200 nets.

Pastor “Muss” (center), speaks with Samuel (on motorbike) about his next steps in his new faith journey. Dr. Adam Tyler, pastor of Grace Hills Baptist Church, Appomattox, writes:

Upon arrival, I was struck by the way the people of the village were very receptive and seemed most grateful for us to hang the nets. Children and women came from every direction to join us. The ladies would allow us into the sleeping quarters, and the children flocked around, wanting to help tie strings on the corners of the nets and hang them (though we and our Ghanaian partners did the actual hanging of the nets). We tied the nets by strings and straps to nails in the wall, covering a bed or mattress on the floor with the protective net.”

“In the heat of the day, our team was sitting beside the road, enjoying the delicious lunch Emmanuel ‘Muss’ Mustapha’s wife had prepared for us. A motorbike rode up with a single rider. He paused, as several had during our break, to consider this odd group of Americans by the roadside. But this rider did more. The young man lifted his motorcycle helmet’s visor and asked who we were. Muss answered, ‘We are Baptist missionaries. We are telling people about Jesus. Do you know Jesus?’

Otis Hall, associate pastor for glocal missions at Bon Air Baptist Church, wrote during the trip: “I can’t explain to you the joy of sharing the gospel from your heart or hearing the members of you team share from their heart and watch the people respond to the call to receive Christ.

The rider answered, ‘Not really, but I would like to know him.’ Before the rest of us knew it, Muss had invited the motorbike rider over to the side. He spoke with him for several minutes before beckoning the team over. This young man, named Samuel, was visibly moved. Muss had helped him understand Jesus more clearly, and Samuel wanted to follow Jesus as Lord. The team joined Muss in praying for Samuel, and then Muss made a connection between the young man and Joseph, one of the area pastors in the region who will follow up with him.

At the end of one day we, as a team, had hung about 1,000 mosquito nets, planted eight churches, and watched about 800 people raise their hands to receive Christ and pray the prayer of salvation. What a great God we serve. Our goal as a church is to follow the vision of ‘a place to belong, a place to become.’ We got the chance to watch that lived out while in Ghana. Everyone there is part of something bigger than themselves. They understand that we are created to be in community. We looked at that and began processing how to live out what we had seen. We asked, ‘What can we bring back to help us live out what we believe is the purpose of our church?’”

Seldom have I seen a story from Scripture brought to life in the present day, but this was as close to a modern retelling of Philip and the Ethiopian from Acts 8 as I could ever imagine! What a joy for this young man to now be a brother in Christ!” Thank you, Virginia Baptists, for faithfully giving to Cooperative Missions and to More Than Nets. It is because of you that, together, the Gospel is being known across Virginia and the world.

On a day when the Appomattox Baptist Association planted three churches and baptized 69 people in support of More Than Nets in Yendi, Ghana, perhaps the most fascinating story happened along the roadside after a young man drove up to the group.

For more information, visit BGAV.org/MoreThanNets 16


There are multiple ways to get involved in missions this summer!

SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES

MISSIONS MC2 Connection Celebration

Looking for a way for your youth to serve on mission this summer? Impact Mission Camp registration is now open, including locations across Virginia and an international experience in Toronto. Do you know young adults eager to find a way to use their gifts and talents in ministry? Summer Venturers has opportunities across the U.S. and around the world—with Impact Mission Camps or Disaster Response as well as in Ghana, Lebanon, Haiti, and Romania. Our international partners in Romania and Haiti have opportunities for partnership in both of these countries. There are opportunities to serve with kids, utilize medical skills, teach English, work with kids with special needs, and more! MC2: Missions Celebration Connection will be July 2428, at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center. MC2 is an intergenerational experience featuring missions, discipleship, worship, fellowship, and fun! Randy Cooksey, minister of youth at Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, will be the keynote speaker. For more information, visit BGAV.org/Summer2017

Engaging worship each evening. Large group fellowship activities. Individual devotional resources for youth and adults for before, during, and after camp. FREE half-day for church group dinner and fellowship.

Collegiate Impact May 14-18, 2017 Colonial Beach, VA Cost: $100

Impact Culpeper June 18-24, 2017

Impact Bluefield June 25-July 1, 2017

Impact Fluvanna July 9-15, 2017

Impact Appomattox July 16-22, 2017

Impact Danville

July 23-29, 2017 Cost for Regional Camps: $275 Churches new to IMPACT will receive FREE registrations for adult chaperones (1 per 6 youth up to 4).

Register online:

impactmissioncamps.org


Meet the

New Class of Leaders by Linda Peay

The new year brought a host of new leaders into the BGAV family. The Spence Network and Kairos Initiative develop leaders through Uptick and the Kairos Leadership Initiative (KLI).

• Brandon Kelly, Director of Transformational Ministries for the Churches of God General Conference • Lynette Hicks, speech pathologist and minister, Raleigh, NC • Anna Hurley, Director of Operations at The District Church, Washington, D.C. • Alyx Mikelaites, lay leader, Mechanicsville, VA • Heather Stemler, children’s and youth director at CrossRoads Church, Norfolk, VA • Brooke Winters, Communications and Development Specialist for Arrabon, Richmond, VA • Stacy Pierce, director of The Potter’s House Preschool, Fredericksburg, VA

Uptick

The word uptick is defined as a small increase. An uptick in a certain activity is seen as something making a significant movement. Through the Spence Network, the BGAV invests in the “small increases” by offering networking and mentoring opportunities to eager and innovative leaders who in turn make an impact on the local church. Since 2008, 136 young leaders have come through the Uptick program. These members are serving across Virginia, the United States, and as far as Norway. By the end of 2017, the total number of Uptick alumni will increase to 167.

Kairos Leadership Initiative

The following people are the members of Uptick’s Class of 2017: • Benjamin Boyd, new pastor of Mt. Gilead Baptist in Kent’s Store, VA • Nick Deere, new pastor of Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Charlottesville, VA • Matt Dodrill, associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Martinsville, VA • Robbie Gaines, site pastor at Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon, VA • Brian Hoysa, pastoral resident at Downtown Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA

Thirteen young adults met for the first of three weekend events planned for this year. The mission of this year-long leadership development program is for each KLI participant to discover his or her identity, discern their gifts and talents, determine their context, and develop their call. Through this self-reflecting process and by using coaches and mentors, participants will be able to bridge their spiritual walk to their life goals of career, community involvement, church, and family.

Kairos Leadership Initiative (KLI) kicked off its fifth year during a weekend retreat at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center in January.

Welford Orrock, Kairos Initiative/Young Adult Coordinator, said that this first meeting primarily focused on the first two facets “by having the participants spend time reflecting, engaging, and processing who God says they are in Christ 18


Alumni Spotlight Another 2011 Uptick alumni, Brad Rhodes, with his band, MELODIME, created a nonprofit organization—Now I Play Along Too—to provide musical instruments and instruction to children who are in difficult situations. Now I Play Along Too’s first project was at the Source of Light Center in Port-auPrince, Haiti, in 2014. MELODIME arrived with over 30 instruments and spent a week teaching the children and setting up continued instruction through local music teachers. They have returned several times to lead music camps, most recently in August 2016.

Nabeel Qureshi, alumnus of the Uptick class of 2011, is a renowned speaker and writer. He wrote the New York Times bestseller, No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, and the follow-up book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, which is the only book ever to win Christian Book Awards for both “Best New Author” and “Best Nonfiction.” Christianity Today featured Qureshi as one of “33 Under 33,” in a cover story on emerging religious leaders. Born in the US and raised as a devout Muslim, Nabeel found Christ through many discussions with Christian friends. He talks about his spiritual development in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and in the follow-up, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus Video Study. He recently published Answering Jihad, which delves into jihad, the rise of ISIS, and Islamic terrorism. Nabeel is a lifelong student, holding multiple degrees in medicine, Christian apologetics, and religion; and is pursuing a doctorate in New Testament studies at Oxford University. Recently, he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. The BGAV requests prayers for Nabeel’s complete healing and comfort as he endures chemotherapy. To keep others informed of his progress, Nabeel vlogs about his story on YouTube and Facebook.

Katie McKown joined Uptick in 2013 and is currently serving as pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church, Scottsville. She is the first female pastor called to the historical church, and she also serves on BGAV Executive Board. In addition, she is co-leading a new US/Canada Uptick group called “NABWU” (North American Board Women’s Union), which is the North American branch of the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department.

through scripture, through the tradition of the church, and through the witness of the Holy Spirit revealed in community together.”

• Jacob Lescault, a senior at Virginia Tech, studying Construction Engineering and Management • Cassidy McFarlane, a junior at Virginia Tech, studying Creative Technology (Animation) • Joshua Mullins, a freshman at Radford University, majoring in Theatre • Virginia Otey, a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, studying English and Non-profit Management • Justin Ridgeway, a junior at Radford University, majoring in Computer Science • Carley Toney, a sophomore at the College of William & Mary, studying Psychology • Ben Wade, a junior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in Computer Science

Orrock added, “Our core KLI conviction is: when these four [facets] are aligned—identity, gifts, context, and call— leadership emerges. Another way is to say leaders are those who know best who they are, what they do well, where they are, and why they are there.“ The 2017 members of KLI are: • Sara Amos, a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in Human Development • Lindsey Armentrout, a senior at Virginia Tech, studying Mechanical Engineering • Kristin Cooper, a senior at Radford University, majoring in Communications • Matthew Flint, a senior at Radford University, studying History • Kayla Hawkins, a senior at Radford University, studying Liberal Arts • Emily Holmes, a junior at George Mason University, majoring in General Studies

The next scheduled retreat is in May when the group convenes to focus on the next two parts of the program: determining their context and developing their call. Until that time, they will continue to grow as they connect individually with both a coach and a mentor and read and study the assigned texts. For more information, visit SpenceNetwork.org KairosInitiative.org 19


WHOM DO I CALL FOR...? The BGAV staff is here to help you. Email us anytime or call us at 800.255.2428 or 804.915.5000, Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. MINISTRIES Children’s Ministry................................................................... Karen Rackett—karen.rackett@bgav.org, ext. 2243 Church Planting......................................................................... Wayne Faison—wayne.faison@bgav.org, ext. 6232 Coaching..................................................................................... Ken Kessler—ken.kessler@bgav.org, ext. 5295 Deacon Training........................................................................ Karen Rackett—karen.rackett@bgav.org, ext. 2243 Evangelism.................................................................................. Wayne Faison—wayne.faison@bgav.org, ext. 6232 Kairos: Collegiate/Young Adult Ministries......................... Welford Orrock—welford.orrock@bgav.org, ext. 2246 Music............................................................................................ Karen Rackett—karen.rackett@bgav.org, ext. 2243 Sunday School/Discipleship................................................... Tony Brooks—tony.brooks@bgav.org, 804.921.5033 Youth Ministry........................................................................... Karen Rackett—karen.rackett@bgav.org, ext. 2243

MISSIONS Community Missions............................................................... Caitlin Figura—caitlin.figura@bgav.org, ext. 7274 Disaster Response..................................................................... Aaron Lee—aaron.lee@bgav.org, ext. 7265 Haiti Child Sponsorship Coordinator.................................. Staci Calkin—staci.calkin@bgav.org, ext. 7263 Impact Mission Camps............................................................ Glenn Maddox—glenn.maddox@bgav.org, ext. 7269 International Partnership Missions....................................... Craig Waddell—craig.waddell@bgav.org, ext. 7263 Long-Term Volunteers (Venturers)....................................... Glenn Maddox—glenn.maddox@bgav.org, ext. 7269 More than Nets.......................................................................... Dean Miller—dean.miller@bgav.org, ext. 7264 Southwest Virginia Partnership.............................................. Craig Waddell—craig.waddell@bgav.org, ext. 7263

SUPPORT MINISTRIES Annual Church Profile (ACP)................................................ Melody Fowler—melody.fowler@bgav.org, ext. 1207 BGAV Annual Meeting............................................................ Nathan White—nathan.white@bgav.org, ext. 1206 • Registration..................................................................... Kirk Walker—kirk.walker@bgav.org, ext. 1209 • Schedule........................................................................... Linda Peay—linda.peay@bgav.org, ext. 1204 • Lodging............................................................................ Linda Peay—linda.peay@bgav.org, ext. 1204 BGAV Calendar......................................................................... Becky Joubert—becky.joubert@bgav.org, ext. 1205 BGAV Governance................................................................... (Executive Office) John Upton Marilee White—marilee.white@bgav.org, ext. 1201 BGAV Staff in My Region........................................................ Karen Rackett—karen.rackett@bgav.org, ext. 2243 Church Receipts........................................................................ Virginia Otey—virginia.otey@bgav.org, ext. 1290 Church Strategic Planning....................................................... Glenn Akins—glenn.akins@bgav.org, ext. 1203 Contact Information for Pastors/Churches/Associations.... BGAV Receptionist—800.255.2428 Eagle Eyrie Events..................................................................... Rod Miller—rod.miller@eagleeyrie.org, 434.384.2211

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For the full call list, visit BGAV.org/Contact

Event Registration..................................................................... Linda Peay—linda.peay@bgav.org, ext. 1204 Financial...................................................................................... Dawn Lee—dawn.lee@bgav.org, ext. 1291 Hotels near the Virginia Baptist Resource Center.............. Marilee White—marilee.white@bgav.org, ext. 1201 Legal Matters.............................................................................. David Washburn—david.washburn@bgav.org, ext. 1102 Literature..................................................................................... Nathan White—nathan.white@bgav.org, ext. 1206 Pastor/Church Staff Search..................................................... Karen Rackett—karen.rackett@bgav.org, ext. 2243 Pulpit Supply.............................................................................. Marilee White—marilee.white@bgav.org, ext. 1201 Retirement.................................................................................. Jeff Cranford—jeff.cranford@bgav.org, 804.921.3945 Scholarships................................................................................ Leslie Straw—leslie.straw@bgav.org, ext. 1296 Transitional Interim Ministry................................................. Ken Kessler—ken.kessler@bgav.org, ext. 5295 Website/Social Media.............................................................. Nathan White—nathan.white@bgav.org, ext. 1206

BGAV Advancing the Kingdom Together

BGAV Annual Meeting November 13–15, 2017 Hampton, VA

Get more details:

BGAV.org/Meeting

Guest Speaker

Leith Anderson


MAKING MISSIONARIES

AND DISCIPLES IN SUNDAY SCHOOL AND SMALL GROUPS Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 NIV) I have mentioned on more than one occasion that teachers are missionaries and disciple-makers. The truth is that all Christians are! We can bless others as we disciple. Here are a few thoughts: Your words of encouragement and challenge matter. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) Whether you are teaching preschoolers or senior adults, you have the power to speak life and hope into others’ lives. You can help each person to see they were created for more. You can encourage them and speak truth to them in love. Years ago, I had a young man who had left the church. I went to visit him. He had long hair and an earring. I treated him with respect, love, and grace. He had grown up in the church I served but had stopped coming after age 18. To my surprise, he showed up one Sunday. During our time of greeting, several people came by to talk to him. He left after the service, before I had a chance to talk with him. I called him that afternoon and asked him what he thought.

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by Tony Brooks

This was his reply: “Tony, I enjoyed the service, but I won’t be back.” I asked him why. His response was, “I had several people come by who had taught me about God’s love as a child. Instead of asking how I am, or telling me that they missed me and loved me, they asked, ‘Why do you have an earring? It looks like you need a haircut.’” Their words said it all. Let your life speak as loud as your words. You are to set the example in how to live grace-filled lives. Be vulnerable, but don’t bleed all over them. What do I mean? They need to see your humanity, but don’t allow negativity from your life be the main focus. Help them to see the times you struggle, but always bring them around to hope for the future. Let your actions speak louder than your words. Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (I John 3:18 NIV) It is not enough just to talk to your class members during class. They need to see you care. How are you showing care throughout the week? Weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice, as Romans 12 states. Do something for them instead of just teaching in the classroom. You may discover your actions will teach them much more! For more Sunday School resources, visit BGAV.org/SundaySchool


One SNOWY Sunday

by Linda Peay The Commonwealth of Virginia had its first blanket of snow during the first weekend of January. In such conditions, pastors and staff have to be ready to make decisions whether to hold worship services as usual or to seek creative ways to reach their members in the safety of their own homes. Thanks to modern technology, some BGAV churches were able to reach their members regardless of their location.

Rev. Greg Soult of Antioch Baptist Church in Sandston also used Facebook Live on the snow day. Soult provided a 25-minute sermon on Matthew 3:13-17, Jesus’ baptism. As he spoke to his viewers, he could see comments and questions coming through in real time. “I was very surprised by the number of people who were watching. The number of views totaled four times our average Sunday attendance,” Soult said.

Facebook Live was launched in April 2016 as a way to post live videos to users’ Facebook pages. Rev. Lynn Marstin, pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Gretna, took advantage of this option to have worship together with his flock on a snowy Sunday. They began their service with his wife, Rhonda, playing a hymn on the antique family organ in their living room. Marstin followed up by sharing how they have maintained the organ throughout the years by referring to the instructions in the early-1900s owner’s manual. Marstin went on to explain that we as Christ followers should also refer to our “owner’s manual,” the Bible, for instructions on how to live. Marstin’s live feed boasted nearly 1,000 views, 30+ shares, and over 100 comments.

Dr. Bob Lee of Huguenot Road Baptist Church in North Chesterfield produced a YouTube video of his sermon and posted it on the church’s Facebook page. Lee also read Matthew 3:1317 about Jesus’ baptism in the 13-minute video, which allowed the congregation to join together in worship from Dr. Bob Lee posted his snow-day their homes. Lee reported sermon on YouTube. that he received positive feedback for this effort. While a winter storm may affect people’s mobility, churches have more options now than ever to feel connected in worship using technology. Pastors can be prepared for last-minute cancellations by using effective communication tools and creative media to reach both their current and prospective members.

For more outreach ideas for your church, contact Susan McBride: 800.255.2428, ext. 2242 susan.mcbride@bgav.org

Left: Rev. Lynn Marstin preached from his living room using Facebook Live. Right: Rev. Greg Soult used Facebook to reach his members. 23


The Light in the Grove by Fred Anderson

Along Highway 20 near Orange, Virginia, there is a roadside park. There are massive, old trees in the Gum Spring grove to provide shade. The park is maintained by the Goshen Baptist Association, and there is a monument there which encapsulates why it is a significant site in American history. The patina on the bronze plaque shows weathering from over the last 70 years yet the inscription is legible: “Near this spot in 1788, Elder John Leland and James Madison, the Father of the American Constitution, held a significant interview… Then Madison, a member of Congress from Orange, presented the First Amendment guaranteeing religious liberty, free speech, and a free press. This satisfied Leland and his Baptist followers.” Every day, motorists rush by the Leland-Madison Memorial Park. Occasionally someone pauses and reads the inscription. On rare occasions Baptists of various stripes and persuasions have visited the site and pondered one of the most significant turning points in shaping the Republic. Across the long centuries, mankind had groaned under one government-endorsed religion after another. World history is replete with religious wars. Pick any country of the old world and you can find stories of atrocities. In Spain, Christians banished Muslims. Jews were frequent targets and learned how to survive wherever Christianity or Islam was the majority religion. There has been plenty of fighting just among fellow believers of each major religion. The common thought is that those who settled the new world came to escape religious oppression. Some did but in most places they quickly practiced a religious freedom which was exclusive to their own dominant religion. Even a state church was sanctioned. Colonial Virginia is a primary example with the Anglican Church as its established church. The saga of religious persecution in Colonial Virginia should be standard knowledge especially among Virginia Baptists, but it is not widely and clearly understood despite all the monuments which dot our landscape, all the publications which have been printed and distributed, and all the teaching and preaching across the years. Time and time again when visitors tour the Virginia Baptist Historical Society’s building, itself a memorial to religious liberty, they will say: “I never realized…I never knew that story. I didn’t know that Baptists went to jail for their 24

Fred Anderson portraying John Leland at the LelandMadison Memorial Park in Orange, VA. faith.” Over a period of about 10 years leading to the American Revolution, Baptists—and other dissenters—faced all manners of persecution in Virginia. Some 40 Baptists were imprisoned or otherwise severely persecuted including whippings and beatings simply for practicing their faith. The Leland-Madison Memorial Park reminds those who do visit that there was something precious at the end of that persecution. Religious liberty was secured in the documents of Virginia—a landmark statute drafted by Thomas Jefferson – and the new nation—the First Amendment to James Madison’s Constitution. There is another sidebar to the story. It is one thing to practice religious tolerance. It is quite another to petition and secure religious liberty. It is one thing to savor justice for your own religionists who were on “the outside.” Too often, when outsiders become insiders, they become the dominant and ruling party. Virginia Baptists never wanted to be the next state church. The Virginia Baptists of the 18th century desired the broadest definition of religious liberty with full knowledge that it is for all—for all religions, for all believers and nonbelievers, even for atheists. Virginia Baptists did not seek liberty for Christians


Leland-Madison Memorial Park (photo courtesy of WayMarking.com)

alone; it was for all. John Leland, the Baptist preacher who influenced Madison, and his fellow Baptists, reckoned that it was for “Christians, Jews, Turks (their name for Muslims)” and, yes, even “Pagans.” “Freedom of conscience” was their mantra. Over 80 years ago, in September 1934, there was a gathering in that same grove of ancient trees in Orange County. The occasion was the Bicentennial of the county. The speaker was Samuel Chiles Mitchell, one of the all-time great history professors at the University of Richmond. Several student generations of Baptists came under his influence. Mitchell told the old story about the Leland-Madison influence for securing religious liberty. The historian paraded Leland’s support of “the civil and religious rights of all men,” his advocacy of soul liberty and his opposition to human slavery in Virginia. He laid out all the bits of evidence about the Leland-Madison meeting at Gum Spring in Orange. But Mitchell was never one to overlook an application to the times in which his audience lived. He emphasized contemporary news. It was the year when Adolf Hitler had become Führer and a blood bath had just occurred across Germany aimed at opponents of the Nazis. “Never was there such need as now for these truths to be emphasized. When the leader of a great country like Germany can strike down 77 men, as on June 30th last, without trial or chance to vindicate themselves, certainly John Leland’s stand for civil rights has a meaning for us. When the totalitarian State crushes the free expression of thought, and molds religion for its own purposes, the life of Leland speaks anew.” “How are we using the freedom James Madison and John Leland won for us? Where a teacher is timid in speaking out to a class his innermost convictions, there the work of Madison and Leland is defeated. Whenever a church does not encourage a pastor to speak boldly his thought, where spiritual issues are at stake, there Madison and Leland are defeated.” “In the maze of problems that beset us, economic, social, and political, there is but one light that falls on the open road, and that is untrammeled freedom of thought and inquiry.” How to find the Leland-Madison Memorial Park: On I-64 west from Richmond take either Rt. 15 from the Zion Crossroads exit or Rt. 20 from the Charlottesville area to the town of Orange. At the intersection of 15 and 20 follow Rt. 20 north from Orange toward Unionville and Rhoadesville. Go 3.8 miles and pass the Orange County airport on left, continue north on Rt. 20 and go 1.9 miles to the Leland-Madison Memorial Park on left at intersection with Clifton Rd. From Fredericksburg take Rt. 3 west to Rt. 20, turn left (south) onto Rt. 20 and travel about 13.5 miles to intersection Rts. 20 and 522. Continue south on Rt. 20 for about 3 miles, park is on right.

For more historical articles, visit BGAV.org/Blog

Bring Your Friends, Church Members, and Neighbors

TUESDAY, MAY 16, 2017 • 7:30 P.M. RIVER ROAD CHURCH, BAPTIST 8000 RIVER ROAD, RICHMOND, VA

KEYNOTE SPEAKER AMANDA TYLER Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

VIRGINIA BAPTIST HISTORICAL SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING

CELEBRATE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY


&

LIFE DEATH QUESTIONS BY JOHNNY ALMOND

brought life and immortality to light. We can be optimistic about seeing the one who answered Job’s question through his death, burial, and resurrection. Is there life before death? Does Christian living make us zombies, or transform us into zealots? Before we experience physical death, is it possible for us to experience abundant life? Before the dirge, can we learn to dance? Before we’re in a casket, can we celebrate? Before our funeral, can we have fun? Is there the potential for us to pull out all the stops and genuinely enjoy full life? These questions are answered by Jesus’ provision. The thief steals enthusiasm, kills joy, and destroys good influence; but Jesus’ joy outlasts the world’s thrills.

“If we humans die, will we live again?” That’s my question. All through these difficult days I keep hoping, waiting for the final change – for resurrection! Job 14:13 (The Message) Is there life after death? After our corpse changes to dust and disappears, will it reappear? After our struggle, will we be serene? After our agonizing pain, will we enjoy the beauties of paradise? After our sickness, will we sing? After rot, is there resurrection? Can we hope for existence beyond time? Is immortality possible?

Is there death after life? After unbelievers die physically, will they die a second death? Is hell just a nightmarish concept, or is it an awful reality? The world wonders if rejecting Jesus is deadly, but we should not play with fire! What in hell would any person possibly want? Surely nothing! Trusting souls won’t go there, but those who reject God’s Son will receive just punishment. Eternity will reveal truth’s answer to the question of the skeptics.

Jesus has given us his answer. He rightfully claimed to be the resurrection and the life, and promised that all who believe in him will live again, even though they die like everyone else. He lives forever; so will we! Some will rise to joy; others will rise to judgment—the difference is Jesus.

Is there death before life? Must we die to self before living for God? Must we sacrifice in order to serve? Is it necessary to take our focus off ourselves before we find true fulfillment? This is the price of joy—to lose our lives for Christ’s sake, and in the process, to find true life. Jesus is God’s final answer.

What God grants a tree, he does not deny to a person. New life is God’s work. Science admits people may live anew. Philosophy hopes we may. Ethics says we ought to. Christ says we will. He

Johnny Almond serves as the pastor of Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church outside Fredericksburg, VA. He is the author of Gentle Whispers from Eternity, which is available at Amazon.com.

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LATEST MINISTRY JOBS • Summer Intern for Youth and Children @ West End Baptist Church, Dinwiddie, North Dinwiddie, VA • Minister with Music @ The United Baptist Church, Annandale, VA • Student Ministry Summer Intern @ Bonsack Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA • Minister to the Deaf @ West Hampton Baptist Church, Hampton, VA • Director of Music Ministries @ Second Branch Baptist Church, Chesterfield, VA • Pastor @ Hopewell Baptist Church, New Kent, VA • Senior Pastor @ Fairfield Glade First Baptist Church, Fairfield Glade, TN

• Senior Pastor @ Woodcrest Chapel, Columbia, MO

• Organist @ First Baptist Church, Newport News, VA • Director of Music @ Friendship Baptist Church, Chesterfield, VA

• Administrative Assistant @ BGAV, Henrico, VA 27


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LUKE 6:45 SUMMER CAMPS GREAT REPUTATION SINCE 1961 • • • • • • •

Find more information, pictures, Christ-centered environment and watch our camp video: Age-appropriate, interactive www.camppiankatank.org Bible and mission studies daily Co-ed camps for ages 6-17 Sailing, ropes course, sports, water sports, climbing wall, and much more! Well-trained Christian staff Weekend Family Camp programs for Mothers and Daughters and Fathers and Sons are a fantastic get-away and bonding experience for families

Camp Piankatank consists of approximately 90 natural acres of beauty located on the pristine Piankatank River in Hartfield, Virginia (just a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay).

BGAV Express - Spring 2017  
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